This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs’ Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov
Last Published: 7/24/2017

Previously one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Ghana's GDP growth rate has slowed considerably over the last five years. In 2016, GDP growth was 3.6 percent. The country's economy is highly dependent on the export of primary commodities such as gold, cocoa, and oil, and consequently remains vulnerable to potential slowdowns in the global economy and commodity price shocks. A new government was elected in December 2016 on a platform of promoting private sector-led growth, and has made attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) a priority, given the urgent need to restore the country's economic momentum and overcome an annual infrastructure funding gap of at least $1.5 billion.

Increased inflation and devaluation of the Ghanaian cedi since late 2013 has dampened Ghana’s earlier macroeconomic success story. Ghana’s power sector, especially on the distribution side, remains one of the biggest factors negatively affecting the economy. In 2015, the government signed a three-year $918 million extended credit facility agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an effort to stabilize Ghana's struggling economy. Under the ongoing IMF program, inflation has declined but the economic situation remains difficult, with a fiscal deficit of at least nine percent and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 73 percent. Ghana will likely seek an extension of the IMF program as the new government works to renegotiate targets to ensure long-term economic success.

Among the challenges hindering foreign direct investment are: a burdensome bureaucracy, weak productivity, costly and difficult financial services, under-developed infrastructure, ambiguous property laws, an unreliable power and water supply, and an unskilled labor force. Enforcement of laws and policies is weak. Public procurements are often opaque and there are often issues of non-payment. There have also been troubling trends in investment policy, with the passage of local content regulations in the petroleum sector, and the increase in minimum required investment levels with the amendment of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act in 2013.

Despite these challenges, Ghana's abundant raw materials (gold, cocoa, and oil/gas), good governance, political stability, and policy reforms make it stand out as one of the better locations for investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The investment climate in Ghana is relatively welcoming to foreign investment – with no discrimination against foreign-owned businesses, investment laws that protect investors against expropriation and nationalization, a free-floating exchange rate regime and guarantees that investors can transfer profits out of Ghana, and a lower degree of corruption than that of some regional counterparts. Among the most promising sectors are agribusiness, food processing, textiles and apparel, downstream oil, gas, and minerals processing, as well as the energy, especially renewable energy, and mining-related services subsectors.

With the change in government, there is optimism among the business community that steps will be taken to address some of the challenges and promote investment. The new government has acknowledged the need to foster an enabling environment to attract FDI, and has announced plans to overhaul the regulatory system and improve the ease of doing business, maintain fiscal discipline, combat corruption, and promote better transparency and accountability.

Table 1

Measure

Year

Index/Rank

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions Index

2016

70 of 176

http://www.transparency.org/
research/cpi/overview

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2017

108 of 190

doingbusiness.org/rankings

Global Innovation Index

2016

102 of 128

https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
analysis-indicator

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2013

$3140

http://www.bea.gov/
international/factsheet/

World Bank GNI per capita

2015

$1480

http://data.worldbank.org/
indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Ghana Economic Development and Investment Law